Two Years

On this #tbt, I find myself struck by beauty and grace that have overflowed since this day two years. Since the day I snapped this photo of snow falling in the distance on the San Bernardino Mountains in California just steps away from where my sweet grandmother was being laid to rest along with her husband and her son.

A few weeks ago, Mo Isom Aiken shared some thoughts on time in her Instastories that have stuck in my heart ever since.

(Side note: I highly recommend following her. She is hilarious but such a woman of profound faith. Her Instastory talks make me feel like I just sat down in church).

She said, “It’s not that time heals wounds but time has the power to sculpt our hearts, to grow us and to comfort us. God does all those things through time. He’s the orchestrater of time.”

Though I didn’t know it at the time, this day two years ago would more or less be the “end” of a season that was marked, yes, by profound loss but also by more grace and joy and growth than I ever could have imagined. But it’s been in these days, weeks, and months that have followed that I’ve really been put “to the test,” I think sometimes. That I’ve woken up and chosen to fight almost daily to remember some of the deeper and most painful moments of this story of mine, not so that I can wallow in sadness or anything but so that I can be revived each day by the pure joy and peace that God granted to me. Because if I don’t remember how it felt, if I don’t remember the promises that were whispered to me by God in His presence, than I will forget them. And to forget them is to forget the miraculous way that God moved in my life and humbled my heart through the story that He has had me step into.

It is through this season of my life that I have been led to this life I lead now. This life of nervously and joyfully stepping out in bold faith to do the things that He is asking me to do both spiritually and professionally. When I take a step back and look at the bigger picture of what God has done, it nearly takes my breath away. The ripples that were made by events from two years ago are still felt today and help recount the ways that God has moved and woven every part of this present reality together.

We have to remember our pain, I think.

We have to remember the way it felt to be utterly and wholly broken before knowing what it felt to be healed, fully and completely.

2018 Began with a Choice

For me, 2018 began with a choice. The details aren’t necessarily important, but it was a choice that said everything about who God is and who He is going to be in this coming year with me. It was a choice that honestly I was only able to make because of the journey that I have walked with God the past four years. It’s a realization that fills me with so much joy + gratitude.

It’s one thing to make a choice, one that you know without a shadow of a doubt is the right one – but another thing entirely to actually live in that choice though. To live with the results of that choice.

I’d argue that living in a difficult decision is harder than actually making it. Because in the days that follow, you start to feel another voice creep in. One that tries to whisper to you that you chose wrong. That you made a mistake. That the instincts you were feeling from God weren’t really from Him at all.

That’s where bold faith comes in.

It takes boldness to actually commit to something – especially when you can’t see further than where you are in this moment. I know that often, this is way easier said than done.

I get that.

But I feel that no matter where you are in your faith journey, bold faith should be something you are always in pursuit of. For me personally, my walk with God – specifically the past four years – was not always characterized by boldness. But somewhere deep down, I knew that this was what I was striving for. Because when you’ve been simultaneously broken and healed by God, you can’t help but want to throw off any and every chain that was holding you back and run headlong towards whatever He has for you. Because the God that heals and bandages the deepest of wounds also has the most beautiful plans and intentions for your future. And I don’t know about you, but the second that I caught a glimpse of what the future could be when I give up this false idea of control and just surrender my future to the One who is more than capable – I was willing to be as bold and daring as I needed to be in order to make that my reality every day.

Because when He leads you to a certain path, you can’t pull away and do things on your own. You just can’t. What I believe about God is that He is the God that breathed all of creation, me and you included, into existence. And He called it good. He has created things that are breathtaking. Things that are awe-inspiring and beautiful.

I have stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon, feeling so unbelievably small and humbled that the God who made all of that was the same God who loves little ole me and sees something that He could make beautiful and call good. Little ole me.

Some decisions are hard and you are faced with making a choice that quite frankly kind of sucks. But bold faith in the wake of that says to God that yes, this sucks and I’m not entirely happy with this but I trust You with my future. I trust You to lead me to a future that I won’t want to hesitate to say a joyful “yes” to.

Currently: January 2018

Currently

Happy New Year! Back in 2016 I posted to Anne in Residence’s Currently linkup regularly and I thought it would be fun to get back to that in 2018!

starting // My 2018 Powersheets from Cultivate What Matters! I took the plunge and ordered the six month set in July of last year when my family and I were completing our first Whole30. I totally fell in love with them so I snagged the yearly set back in November. I’m a paper and planning junkie anyway, but there’s just something about this product that speaks so deeply into my heart + soul. Between the Powersheets and my new yearly prayer journal from Val Marie Paper, I just feel so encouraged to prayerfully move into this new year.

hoping // 2018 is poised to be a year of great change in my life – change that will likely consist of me moving somewhere completely unfamiliar this Fall (see this post). I’m truly just hoping to prayerfully begin this year with a heart that is in tune with Jesus and His will + plan for whatever lies ahead.

scheduling // Ha, my workouts? The yoga studio in my town where I’ve been going for a few month now just began a new schedule with some new class offerings this week. I just want to try all the things!

reading // I’m currently reading Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren and loving it! I’m also reading and praying through the Bible chronologically this year with my sister. We’re using one of the plans in the YouVersion Bible app that was recommended by the amazing Lara Casey!

planning // All the things! I’m just excited and hopeful for all that 2018 could offer but for this month in particular, there are two things I’m planning on attending that has me excited! On January 12, Emily Ley (creator of the Simplified Planner and author of Grace, Not Perfection and A Simplified Life) will be in Charlotte for a stop on her book tour and I am hoping to make it out to meet her! Then on January 25, the women’s community at my church will be hosting their first worship night – which I am super excited about!

See you next month!

2018

It’s a natural thing, it seems, to become more aware of our hopes and dreams, our shortcomings and our failures, in these few days between Christmas and the New Year. No matter where you look, there is no shortage of blog posts and articles outlining all of the ways that we can become better versions of ourselves in the next 365 days.

It’s overwhelming and quite frankly a little annoying sometimes.

But as I sit here, still in my pajamas, and fix my eyes on what lies ahead I am overcome with this feeling of humility. I feel so small and insignificant under the weight of the things I know 2018 could bring and the things unknown. And there just under the surface I am surprised to find feelings of unworthiness. Unworthy of the calling that God has placed on my life and will be bravely stepping into later this year. Unworthy of the grace upon grace upon grace that was poured out to me over the past couple of years. Unworthy of so much that it catches me wholly by surprise today. The feelings sent me tripping over myself towards Jesus and His truth, swallowing a lump in my throat as my good, good Father brought me to these words this morning.

“You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding.” // Psalm 139:5-6, GNT

As someone who seeks structure, predictability, and routines (enneagram type nine, right here), it seems completely out of character to also be someone whose life will likely be uprooted in 2018. The reality is that this Fall I could be setting off somewhere for a four month, full-time child life internship or I could be moving to Illinois for grad school.

I honestly just have to laugh and point to God as my direction for all of this because if it were solely up to me, none of this would probably be happening. I’d stay here, in the only place I’ve ever known besides my college years, and settle into a predictable and stable life. But all praise and honor to our Father in Heaven, who knows exactly what we need, because there is no doubt in my mind that it is He who is guiding every step of this journey that I’ve been on for the past two years. He is protecting and surrounding me on every side, a beautiful reminder that I was graciously given today.

I am reminded in these last few hours of 2017 that as scary as the days ahead may feel – to literally not know where I will be living in eight short months – that they have already been written by a truly amazing Father who loves His children so dearly. I am reminded of my worth, my identity that surpasses anything I could dream up here on Earth. Where I may feel small and insignificant, God looks at me and sees a masterpiece.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” // Ephesians 2:10, NLT

 

2017: A Year in Review

January

The year began with snow the first weekend of the year! It hardly ever snows in this area but any amount brings me so much joy!

2017 Year in Review

February

In February, I got into antiquing with my Mom! One weekend we explored downtown Gastonia, which I’d never really done – surprising, since I came here a lot as a kid. I just loved the remnants of the “old” mixed in with the new.

April

April was definitely a highlight of 2017 for us as a family! For most of my life my family talked and dreamed about one day taking a family vacation to the Grand Canyon and this year was the year those dreams finally came to fruition! It was a week full of joy and love and beautiful sights that left me in complete awe of the God who created it all. We saw Celine Dion in concert for the second time as a family on our first night in Las Vegas and walked down memory lane in Williams, Arizona where we stayed most of the week. My Dad remembers stopping in this town on the train as a kid when his family would journey from California back to New Mexico to visit family and my great-grandfather worked as a dishwasher here in the 1930s. We even made the much anticipated roadtrip to New Mexico to visit the town where my Dad was born and visit with his cousin who shared so many photos and family stories!

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